A major new survey of almost 44,000 employees[1] conducted by the mental health charity Mind has found that almost half (48 per cent[2]) had experienced poor mental health, such as stress, low mood, and anxiety, while working at their current organisation. Of those respondents, only half chose to tell their employer about their difficulties (10,554). The findings are revealed as part of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) which is putting a spotlight on how stress impacts our lives.

The data was gathered from the 74 organisations that took part in Mind’s latest Workplace Wellbeing Index, a benchmark of best policy and practice which celebrates the work employers are doing to promote and support positive mental health.

These new findings also show:

  • More than eight in ten people (84 per cent) would continue to go to work when experiencing poor mental health while only just over half (58 per cent) would go to work when experiencing poor physical health
  • Only two fifths (42 per cent) of all employees surveyed felt their manager would be able to spot the signs they were struggling with poor mental health
  • A fifth (21 per cent) of all respondents feel that their current workload is unmanageable

Employers taking part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index are aiming to create a culture where staff feel able to talk openly about their mental health. Encouragingly this year two thirds (61 per cent) of employers taking part in the Index[3] intend to increase spend on workplace wellbeing activities to create a more positive and open culture.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said:

“As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week, it is worrying to discover that half of employees still don’t feel able to speak out. Too many people struggling with poor mental health, such as stress, anxiety and depression, still feel they need to stay silent. For some, reasons include; not feeling comfortable disclosing their mental health problem, worrying their employer will think they can’t do their job and not wanting to be treated differently.

“We know that changing workplace culture takes time to filter through an organisation. Encouragingly forward-thinking employers, like those organisations taking part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index, are taking steps in the right direction and their bespoke reports identify what they are doing well and the areas for improvement.

“Organisations in the Index recognise that making workplace wellbeing an organisational priority is not just the right thing to do, but makes good business sense too. Those taking part have shown a real commitment to make mental health a priority. It’s great that so many organisations are asking themselves some challenging questions about how they are supporting their workforce and what they can do to provide a better experience. We need to see more workplaces encouraging open conversations about mental health and championing a more supportive and open environment.

“We’d urge other employers to follow in the footsteps of these organisations and sign up for Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index, a benchmarking tool to help them identify where they are doing well when it comes to promoting good mental health at work, as well as highlighting areas for improvement.”

The organisations taking part in the Index receive an in-depth analysis of their results, an assessment of how well they are supporting the mental health of their staff and recommendations for where they can make improvements. Each employer is given a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Committed to Action Award to reflect their performance.

The Environment Agency topped this year’s Workplace Wellbeing Index, for the second year in a row. The non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), achieved the highest score in the Gold category.

Eight other organisations also received the Gold Award recognising their achievements when it comes to promoting good mental health at work, they are:

  • CancerCare
  • Companies House
  • Dr Challoner’s Grammar School
  • Historic England
  • Intertrust Guernsey
  • Jacobs Engineering Group
  • LSI Architects LLP
  • RBC Wealth Management Limited


Employers can register their interest in taking part in next year’s Workplace Wellbeing Index, by visiting: mind.org.uk/index.

[1] Research reference: Mind (2017/2018) 43,892 staff from across the 74 organisations taking part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index shared their views and experiences through staff surveys

[2] 21,112 employees have experienced poor mental health whist working at their current employer

[3] 61 per cent of 72 organisations that provided data

Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.